By Monica F. Helms
On October 20, 1994, the Navy lifted the ban on women serving on combat ships when the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) became the first US warship to deploy with women, departing Norfolk, Va. with 367 female sailors. Six years later, in spring of 2000, Captain Kathleen McGrath became the first woman to command a combat vessel when she took over the frigate Jarrett, a 453-foot warship, with a 262-member crew.
On April 1, 1900, the US Navy commissioned their first submarine, the USS Holland (SS-1.) In that short time, submarines have proven their worth to the fleet and our country. In WWII, submarines sank 55% of all of the tonnage during the war, with just 1% of the Naval personnel. However, they lost 52 submarines, 18% of all submarines which saw combat duty, and 3505 men, 13.3% of all of the WWII submarine personnel. They know first hand that freedom is not free.